In our corporate bulletin of the 22nd of this month we summarized the amendment of the Law on Companies for the Optimization and Promotion of Business and Corporate Governance. Below, we include other important amendments:
a) Acquisition of treasury stock: The acquisition of treasury stock by a corporation has long been authorized by the Law on Companies. This amendment adds the following: (i) funds from net profits, statutory reserves or contribution of money or assets of the company may be used for the acquisition (previously only net profits could be used); (ii) the economic and political rights of the shares acquired by the company are suspended until the shares return to circulation, in which case the transferee is entitled to exercise them; and (iii) the shares must be disposed of within a maximum period of five years from their acquisition, otherwise they will be redeemed through the corresponding share capital reduction.
b) Action for oppression of minority shareholders: A new action is created that may be brought by minority shareholders (understood as those who do not have control over the company) against majority shareholders for conducts that violate their rights under the law.
c) Agreements between directors/shareholders and the company: The transfer or encumbrance of assets in favor of the director or a shareholder, the acquisition of personal property of the director or a shareholder, and any other act or contract entered into between the company and the director, require the prior approval of at least 75% of the capital attending the respective shareholders' meeting. The directors or shareholders involved may not vote.
d) Transformation into a S.A.S.: Any legal entity of any nature (including non-commercial organizations), and contractual partnerships, may transform into a simplified stock corporation (S.A.S.).
e) Corporate acts that require prior approval: In corporate acts that require prior approval by the Superintendence of Companies (capital decrease, merger, spin-off, among others), the review will be formal, only referring to the legality of the acts, without the need for a prior inspection for their approval or registration, unless there is a request from a shareholder. The minutes of the shareholders' meeting must include a statement from the shareholders and the legal representative of the veracity and authenticity of the information provided. The Superintendence of Companies may carry out an inspection process within seven years after the approval of the corporate act.
f) Expedited cancellation: The expedited cancellation process is created, by means of which, when the company demonstrates that it has no outstanding obligations with the Superintendence of Companies, it may request the Superintendent to declare the company dissolved and cancel its registration in the Commercial Registry or the Superintendence's Companies Registry, as the case may be, by means of a resolution. For this purpose, the Superintendent will not require the filing of corporate or accounting records, but instead, a statement of the veracity and authenticity of the information provided and that the final balance sheet is supported by the respective corporate and accounting records must be included in the minutes of the meeting. Although the Superintendence of Companies may not require the filing of compliance certificates with other governmental entities in order to issue an expedited cancellation resolution, they may verify, on their own means, the compliance of obligations with such entities.
g) Corporate groups: With respect to corporate groups, the following are particularly noteworthy:
- In the case of a corporate group with subsidiaries, both the managers of the subsidiaries and those of the parent company must submit a special report to the annual general shareholders' meeting, in which the intensity of the economic relations existing between the parent company and the subsidiaries shall be detailed, that is, a detail of the most important transactions between the parent company and its subsidiaries or carried out in the interest of the parent company and/or the subsidiaries.
- When the bankruptcy of a subsidiary company is caused by the actions of the parent company or its controlling companies, the parent company, its controlling companies or any of its subsidiaries or related companies shall be liable, on a subsidiary basis, for the unpaid claims of the bankrupt company.
- The arbitration agreement entered into by one or more companies of the corporate group shall be binding for the other companies of the group, when, due to their role in the signature, performance or termination of the agreements which contain such arbitration clauses, the non-signatory companies are considered parties to the arbitration agreement.
- If the parent company owns all the shares or units issued by a subsidiary company, the members or shareholders of the parent company may authorize, at a general shareholders' meeting, the transfer or encumbrance of the corporate assets of the subsidiary.
h) Consultations to the Superintendence of Companies: Companies may submit consultations to the Superintendence of Companies on matters related to their area of competence. The answer to a consultation shall contain general opinions on matters legally supervised by the Superintendence of Companies. Consequently, the criteria derived from a general pronouncement may not be related to a particular company or situation.
i) Corporate acts approved by the shareholders' meeting: The corporate acts of all companies must be instrumented in the same fiscal year in which the shareholders' meeting resolved them. Otherwise, a new resolution of the shareholders' meeting ratifying such decision will be required.
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